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Published on July 13, 2010

Avera Named 2010 Most Wired and Most Wireless

Avera has been recognized as one of the nation's Most Wired, and Most Wireless health systems according to the results of the 2010 Most Wired Survey released today in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. These are Avera's 12th consecutive "Most Wired" and 7th consecutive "Most Wireless" awards making Avera the only health system in the nation to make both lists every year running since their inceptions. Avera is the only health system in the State of South Dakota to be named to the two lists this year.

Hospitals understand the importance of health information technology (IT) and the benefits of its widespread adoption, yet as a field still face significant barriers to implementation according to a newly released survey of America's Most Wired hospitals and health systems.

"We are very proud of the work being done across the system to use technology to improve patient care," said Jim Veline, senior vice president of Information Systems. "To be included in this national recognition is affirmation that Avera is making an impact and staying ahead of the technology curve."

This year's survey reveals continued progress for hospitals in patient safety initiatives as compared to hospitals not on the most wired list.

"Fifty-one percent of medication orders were done electronically by physicians at Most Wired hospitals, up from 49 percent last year.

"Additionally, Most Wired hospitals have made improvements when it comes to sharing information during care transitions. For example, new medication lists are electronically delivered to caregivers and patients 94 percent of the time when a patient is transferred within the hospital, 98 percent at discharge and 86 percent when transferred to another care setting.

"The survey results highlight that continued progress is being made but the full potential of health IT has not been meet," says Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA). "Hospitals embrace health IT and recognize the many benefits it can provide to patients, but even Most Wired hospitals face barriers to adoption. We have asked that the federal government stimulate greater adoption by making Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments more widely available to hospitals and physicians so more hospitals can move in this direction."

Survey results speak to the fact that the full potential of health IT has not been met and that the use of electronic medical record functions is still not widespread, even with independent physicians who practice within hospitals. For Most Wired hospitals, only 43 percent of independent physician practices have the ability to electronically document medical records, 41 percent have computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and 44 percent have decision support.

Gerry McCarthy, vice president of physician solutions at McKesson Corporation, a major sponsor of the Most Wired Survey, says providers need to be strategic about IT deployments. "You can't just start with CPOE as a first step," he says. "The best way to garner physician adoption of CPOE is to ensure that it adds immediate value to their workflow, which involves automating information across foundational care processes first, such as nursing documentation and bar-code medication administration, clinical monitoring and other features." The same type of thoughtful planning should be applied to information exchange, both with physicians and patients, he adds.

The 2010 Most Wired Survey is redesigned this year to reflect two years of work with an advisory group to continually improve the Most Wired Survey. The 2010 Most Wired Survey represents a new structure and methodology with an increased use of analytics and reporting. The advisory group was comprised of leaders from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), chief information officers, Most Wired staff and vendors. Additionally, the new methodology was made available to the entire CHIME membership for review and comment. 

Hospitals & Health Networks conducted the 2010 survey in cooperation with McKesson Corporation and CHIME. The July H&HN cover story detailing results is available at www.hhnmag.com.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes more than 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, and 38,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends.

About the Most Wired Survey

Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the AHA, conducts the voluntary Most Wired Survey annually which uses the results to name Most Wired hospitals and health systems. It is based on organizations' level of achievement in four focus areas: Business and Administrative Management, Clinical Quality and Safety, Care Continuum and Infrastructure.

McKesson Corporation is a health care services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality health care by reducing costs, streamlining processes and improving the quality and safety of patient care.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior health care IT leaders. CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and health care in the communities they serve.